Dry Needling: Everything You Need to Know

: Dry Needling Therapy Guide

What is Dry Needling?

Physical therapists and other qualified healthcare professionals use the dry needling technique [1] to treat musculoskeletal pain and movement problems. It virtually gets employed as a component of a larger pain management strategy that may include massage, exercise, and other methods. Any healthcare professional will use tiny, pointed needles to treat myofascial trigger points underneath your skin during this procedure. “Myo” refers to a muscle in the word “myofascial.” On the other hand, your muscles get covered in a thin layer of white connective tissue called fascia.

Patients who are sensitive to painkillers or those whose pain levels have not decreased despite multiple sessions of other physical therapy, rest, exercise, or surgery may find this therapy particularly appealing. Patients with long-lasting pain from chronic conditions are using dry needling more and more frequently.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

Your muscle enters an energy crisis when it gets overworked, which results in insufficient blood flow to the muscle fibers. Your muscles can’t return to their normal resting state if they don’t receive the usual blood supply, oxygen, and nutrients. The tissue close to your trigger point becomes more acidic as a result. Because of the sensitization of your nerves, the area is achy and painful.

A trigger point [1] gets stimulated with a needle to encourage the return of normal blood flow, which helps to clear the area and ease tension. As a result of the prick, your brain may get stimulated to release endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers.
Your therapist will place a needle through your skin and directly into a trigger point once they have found it. They may slightly adjust the needle to trigger a muscle spasm known as a local twitch response. This response may indicate that your muscle is responding. After a dry needling session, some people experience an almost immediate improvement in their pain and mobility. Some people require more than one session.

What is Trigger Point Dry Needling?

Trigger-point dry needling may sound unfamiliar to you, and you might wonder what it is and whether it hurts. Trigger point dry needling [2] may sound frightening or painful, but it rarely feels uncomfortable. Dry needling at trigger points is a drug-free procedure performed by qualified, licensed, experienced chiropractors, physicians, and physical therapists. The practitioner penetrates the skin with a thin monofilament needle to treat underlying muscular trigger points or muscle tension, injuries, and pain. Numerous patients’ neuro-musculoskeletal pain and movement impairments get reduced and find improvement through this process.
An area of constriction or tension in the muscle fibers known as a trigger point can impair motion or range of motion, disrupt function, and produce excruciating pain and tenderness. These uncomfortable, tight trigger points in a specific muscle are the focus of trigger point dry needling, which helps the muscle relax, improve blood flow, and relieve pain.

Many doctors don’t address the root of the issue, and if your doctor only focuses on rehab exercises, those won’t work either because the trigger points’ tension and pain haven’t been relieved. Using rehabilitation exercises daily is essential, but relying solely on one approach won’t help patients recover more quickly.

What Conditions can be Treated with Dry Needling?

Your body has tender knots called trigger points that can limit movement and cause excruciating pain. Your muscles will tense and instantly relax after a tiny needle is inserted into these trigger points, quickly alleviating the most prominent symptoms. But the benefits of trigger point needling don’t end there. Dry needling may eventually bring psychological advantages like reduced stress and better mood.

Trigger point dry needling is employed to lower pain and troublesome symptoms of some conditions. The following conditions get treated [3] with dry needling:

  • Muscle Pain and Tension
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Joint problems
  • Pelvic pain
  • Shin splints
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Spinal issues
  • Tendonitis
  • Trigger points
  • Whiplash

What are the Benefits of Dry Needling?

Dry needling has many advantages [4] when it’s a part of your overall treatment strategy. The procedure is cheap and generally regarded as secure. If carried out by a skilled provider, there is a low risk of complications. According to research, dry needling can help you release your trigger points and reduce your muscle pain and stiffness. Your flexibility and range of motion may improve after releasing your trigger points.

1. Relieve pain and muscle stiffness

Dry needling targets trigger points, making it an efficient method of reducing pain in particular body parts. If the therapist discovers trigger points in your neck or shoulder, they will inject needles there. The pressure, chemicals, tension, and inflammation in the muscles that are the source of the pain will get released by these needles. Improved range of motion and immediate pain relief will be the outcomes.

2. Improved range of motion

This procedure aids in enhancing an injury’s range of motion, like how dry needling releases tension and pressure in trigger points. The fluid movement and a full range of motion are essential for success if you’re an athlete who is constantly moving. Your body experiences a lot of stress, so it’s critical to loosen up your muscles and reduce tension. If you wish to prevent ongoing discomfort or further injuries, dry needling can help to lessen this pain and improve overall function.

3. Speeds up the healing process

The recovery period is always the worst and most time-consuming part of an injury. Although some injuries may require longer recovery times than others, we are all eager to return to full strength. Patients have reported a greater range of motion and quicker pain relief with dry needling. One of the best advantages of dry needling therapy is that it can heal injuries more quickly than other types of treatment.

Related Blog: Eliminate Back Pain with Dry Needling: Uncover the Surprising Benefits

Risks and Side Effects of Dry Needling

If you have an infection, you shouldn’t undergo dry needling until the condition has completely gone away. Pregnant women do get a recommendation for a dry needling procedure. It is also unsuitable for those unable to understand its purpose and those with a severe needle phobia.

Before attempting dry needling to see if it’s safe for you, disclose to your healthcare provider if you currently take blood thinners or have any of the following conditions:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Compromised immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Lymphedema
  • Vascular disease

Side effects [2] associated with the dry needling procedure include:

  • Soreness during or after the procedure
  • Bleeding where the needles were inserted
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Skin bruising

The majority of these side effects are minor and don’t harm or distress dry-needling patients significantly.
Additionally, the use of non-sterile needles increases the risk of infection. Working with a qualified healthcare professional experienced in dry needling and employing standardized procedures and sterile tools reduce the associated risk significantly.

What is the Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?

You will find similarities between dry needling and acupuncture [5], but these procedures are not identical. The theory underlying why the techniques work differs the most. By releasing myofascial trigger points in muscles, dry needling primarily aims to decrease pain and restore function. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is described as the stimulation of particular acupuncture points along the body’s skin that corresponds with 12 fictitious energy channels (meridians). By re-establishing the flow of energy through these vital points in the body, acupuncture focuses on the treatment to restore balance.

Assessment Differences between Dry Needling and Acupuncture
Before dry needling, an evaluation conducted includes palpation, myotomes, dermatomes, range of motion of the muscles and joints, and a twitch response. Meridians, Ying and yang pulses, tongue diagnosis, acupoints, and no twitch response are all part of the assessment before acupuncture.

How to Choose a Practitioner for a Dry Needling Procedure?

Physical therapists and certified acupuncturists who have received training in the technique can perform dry needling. There may be various certification requirements. However, most patients only experience a little discomfort or none at all.

In case you experience muscle, tendon, or ligament pain, you should consult your primary care physician immediately. Your medical team and you will decide whether dry needling is appropriate for you. Like all medical procedures, you should carefully consider dry needling before beginning.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dry Needling

Dry needling, from the sound of it, may sound like a risky procedure. However, with minimal risks and side effects, it can give you prolonged relief from pain. Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions, which will offer insight into this procedure.

Q1. What happens when dry needling hits a nerve?

A patient will typically twitch, which is quite noticeable due to uncontrollable muscle movement. The most typical sign of a nerve injury is pain. A severe shooting or burning sensation at the injection site that radiates to the hand and forearm dorsum is how it gets typically described. Numbness, paresthesia, hypoesthesia, and other sensory disturbances may also be present in patients.

Q2. Can I exercise after dry needling?

You might experience some soreness after dry needling, which can be strenuous on the muscles and soft tissues. If so, it is recommended to wait at least 24 to 48 hours after dry needling before engaging in any strenuous cardio or weightlifting.

Q3. Does dry needling hurt?

Because these needles are so thin, the needle insertion does not hurt. When you insert a muscle, it may occasionally twitch, and if that happens, the muscle may feel sore. Typically, you will experience some minor muscle soreness or ache for a day or two after working out a particular muscle.

Q4. Does dry needling work?

According to research, dry needling can help you release your trigger points and reduce your muscle pain and stiffness. Your flexibility and range of motion may improve after releasing your trigger points.

Q5. How long does dry needling relief last?

As previously mentioned, the effects of a single session of dry needling can prevail for several days. Clients may experience immediate relief after the first session, but results are more likely to last over time with repeated sessions.

Q6. Is dry needling safe?

The procedure is affordable and generally regarded as secure. If carried out by a skilled provider, there is a low risk of complications. According to research, dry needling can help you release your trigger points and reduce your muscle pain and stiffness.

Q7. How much does dry needling cost in Dubai?

A dry needling procedure cost starts as low as AED 500 and reaches up to AED 2,500 per session with an average price of AED 1,500 per session.

The Bottom Line

For people with specific musculoskeletal conditions, dry needling is a technique that is secure, barely uncomfortable, and frequently very effective. The therapy has changed the game for many patients in raising their quality of life. However, be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning the procedure. It is invasive even though it gets regarded as safe. More conservative treatments might be suggested by your doctor first.

Physiotherapy and Chiropractic Services At Home in Dubai

Any illness, including shoulder pain or injury, requires professional guidance and treatment during the healing process. In Dubai, City Doctor provides several home physiotherapy services. Our DHA-licensed physiotherapists offer physical therapy at home for people recovering from operations, illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions. Therefore, get in touch with us or visit our website for more information if you want to take advantage of our physiotherapy and chiropractic at-home services in Dubai or get advice on dry needling.

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